I was accepted into a prestigious MFA program. For whatever reason, I did not receive the funding that I needed to attend. No more student loans for me, thanks. But I also did not hear anything about paid graduate assistant positions.
Do I need an MFA? Not really. As far as degrees go, I have my BA in communication and an MS in media management. I’m taking a bunch of different graduate-level courses via the EdX.org platform in pursuit of my other interests (programming and cyber security). So, no, I don’t *need* the MFA.
I just wanted to be forced to become a better writer. At the moment, the only writing I do is for work. I get paid to write, which is great. I don’t do any fiction writing or literary writing, though. And I feel like I should challenge myself as a writer because that is the only way to become a better writer.
The library and its many facets
Enter the library. The library has always been the place where I learned more than I ever could in school. When I was a kid, I read everything. I wanted to find out what the teachers weren’t telling me about a particular subject.
Libraries have evolved over the years. The library system began as a place to find books on any subject. Once the computer became a necessity, libraries adapted to bring the technology to people who wouldn’t be able to otherwise access it.
Libraries have free classes on so many subjects, for people at different levels and with different interests. My library system has free writing workshops taught by the same authors who teach the MFA program I was accepted into.
My writing challenge
So, now I’m getting the MFA-style education I wanted without the financial strain. My only goal was to challenge myself as a writer. Without someone or something pushing me to do that, I tend to stick to what I know. I won’t grow as a writer if I continue to do that.
If your library doesn’t have classes, maybe check for other nearby library systems. I drive all over my state to visit my favorite libraries. Meetup.com is another good way to find writing workshops and classes.
How are you challenging yourself to become a better writer and storyteller?